Monday, January 27, 2014

Women first

I came across this post about women who have husbands and kids (found it here, actually).

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm divorced with no kids. I don't ever plan on having kids. It's not because I can't. It's not because I don't like kids. It's not even because of my career ambitions.

I've chosen not to have children because I think I'd make a lousy mom. I'm too selfish and impatient and immature to put another person's needs above my own for, like, the rest of my life.

People have often disagreed. I've heard, "You'd feel differently if you had a baby," dozens - maybe hundreds - of times.

I appreciate the vote of confidence. But I think that little experiment could be pretty risky. What if I have a child, and then it turns out I was right? Now some poor kid is saddled with the worst mom ever, all because someone thought I should be a mom?

Not acceptable. So instead, I have a cat. We're quite happy.

But just because I've chosen not to have kids doesn't mean I think it's OK to judge or degrade women who chose to be moms. The author of that post said:

We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world.

Is she nuts? I'll agree that finding someone to marry isn't that tough a task. Certainly, getting pregnant is no terrific accomplishment (in many cases, though I do know women who struggled to have children).

But we don't celebrate a woman having a wedding, or a baby. We celebrate a woman becoming a wife or a mother. A woman devoting her life to one person. A woman agreeing to put someone else's best interests ahead of her own. A woman vowing to love someone else until she dies - no matter what stupid crap he pulls. A woman taking on the monumental task of molding and shaping a child into, like, a whole person. Remembering to feed him everyday, and everything.

Those are not easy or common. At all.

Now - I'll admit plenty of celebrated marriages end in divorce [waves] and plenty of lousy moms get a shower. The point is, we're celebrating the intent, even if actual results may vary.

If someone does actually manage to be a good mom - she totally earned that party. If someone manages to stay married to the same guy for decades, without killing (or at least maming) him... the very least she deserves is some new dishes.

The writer goes on to say:

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

OK - that's just rude, in addition to being totally wrong. Some of the strongest women I know are moms (or soon will be). They are beautiful, exceptional, vital women who contribute more in most days than I bet this author could dare dream in a year.

I also know women without kids who just skate by. They offer very little of value, and accomplish nothing exceptional.

Of course, this goes both ways. Many times us non-moms are judged because of our choice. We're told we can't possibly understand, we don't know what "real" busy is, or we're all selfish people who hate kids and do nothing for anyone else.

My personal favorite is that my life must be "empty" without kids or a husband.

So - as it turns out, all moms aren't "common" and all non-moms aren't exceptional. Wives can be judgy and selfish, and non-wives can be caring and altruistic. So how are we supposed to tell anyone apart?!

Stop generalizing. Stop assigning women to types based on their choices or circumstances.

Start respecting differences. Start learning from others' experiences.

Most of all, stop tearing each other down. It does nothing to help us as women - and we're all women first.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I love Wednesdays

Saturday is my favorite day. It's the one day every week where I not only don't have to rush out of the house (usually), I also don't have to worry about rushing out the next morning.

Friday is my favorite work day because I can dress casual, many of my clients are off, and I'm staring down the barrel of Saturday.

But Wednesdays? I love Wednesdays. I've usually gained some momentum on my work week, and am doing OK. But it also feels so much closer to the weekend. Once you survive Wednesday, it's just Thursday, which is practically Friday - which is ptactically the weekend.

Plus - Wednesday is Shemar Moore Day!

(Criminal Minds, 9 pm, CBS)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Moment of clarity

I was born in 1974...which means later this year, I celebrate the 11th anniversary of my 29th birthday.

I have never been OK with getting older. Well - not since I turned 18, anyway. I wanted to vote, so that birthday was pretty cool. I don't drink, and never have, so turning 21 wasn't especially exciting, except that maybe it made me eligible for more giveaways. Pretty much since 1995, I've been OK not discussing the number of candles on my cake.

My issue hasn't been related to health or signs of aging. My issue has always been that my life is never where I expected it would be when I reached a certain age. So, confronting the age meant confronting my (perceived) failures.

Turning 35 was the worst. It was the first birthday I celebrated after my marriage ended. I was single, struggling, in a job I didn't really enjoy, and just plain unhappy. Eventually, I came to embrace those "failures" and even used them as a jumping off point for this blog. I learned that while it may not be the life I ordered, it's the one I'm meant to have. 

I've been dreading turning 40 for as long as I can remember. It just sounds The thing is, I have learned from my friends who crossed that threshold before me that 40 isn't nearly the end of anything. In fact, for many, it's actually the beginning...of a happy, fulfilling, joyful life. 

I have been quite stressed out lately, at the prospect of selling my home. Not because I don't want to sell
(because I do), but at the prospect of dealing with all of that change. I've lived in this home for 10+ years. Selling means giving up a part of who I am. It also means starting over, which is not something I ever thought I'd be doing at 40.

Add to this a little stress about my job potentially moving. Not far - but far enough to make me (momentarily) reconsider where I'd look for my new home. It was causing a lot of worry and grief and a few, "It's just not fair!" moments.
Why am I the one who has to change? Why does it have to be difficult for me? 

Then, out of nowhere, I had a true moment of clarity. It occurred to me that I have been unhappy about a few things in my life for a little too long. Apparently, this is the year those things are going to change. Sometimes life does that - shakes things up just enough to trigger a much-needed change.

That's scary. But in that moment when I decided to just accept that things are going to change, I also realized - it's exciting as hell.

I suspect that 2014 will not be an easy year for me. 

But I suspect it will all be absolutely worth it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An app for that

I am mostly grateful that I have a job. It's actually a good job - I am well-paid, have more vacation time than I can actually use, flexibility, and a pretty short work week. Mostly, I can't complain.

But I may still download this app - just in case.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Caffeinated gratitude

Today is brought to you by caffeine, tears, and sheer will to live.

I'm thankful for the caffeine. Since I get mine via Mountain Dew, I'm especially grateful that the Panera closest to my office has a drive-thru open for breakfast hours.

Carry on.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Random gratitude

I didn't post yesterday... but that doesn't mean I wasn't grateful.

• I'm quite grateful for apartment finder sites and apps that help me research potential new homes for Joe and me.

• I'm grateful that there are places where I can bring Joe to live. Smuggling him in would be a pain in the you-know-what.

• I'm grateful that I love Joe enough that I wouldn't even consider living somewhere he couldn't. Everyone deserves that kind of love in their life.

• I am eternally and hopelessly grateful to my parents for the fact that I have no siblings. Seriously - how do you people put up with all that BS?

• I'm grateful it's no longer December, the holidays are over, and we can get back to task of just being.

• I'm grateful I'm not as dumb as some people. Seriously, have they never experienced cold weather?!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Selfie Olympics

I'm thankful everyday for Buzzfeed. They bring endless distraction and fun into my day.

Today, I'm also grateful I've never been caught on the internet in any of these poses.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snow days

I promised to share a little gratitude every day.

It is not often you'll hear me talk about work; and you'll almost never hear me say I'm grateful for my job.

But, as the snow continues to fall, I have to say, I am quite grateful my manager allows me to work from home when the weather is bad.

I don't actually mind driving in snow - but I suck at walking in the stuff. Even the short walk from the office parking lot is bad for me.

Then there's the shoveling. Sure, I have a snow-removal service - but what if I get home and they haven't plowed? Then I have to shovel my way into my driveway.

I'd just as soon stay home.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A year of gratitude

Baking Suit shared this post today, and it got me thinking...

I can absolutely find something in every day to make me grateful. How wonderful would it be to document all that gratitude? The only problem - I don't take that many photos.

Even so, I think I probably run across images every day that mean something to me. Or, stories worth sharing. If a story makes my day better, perhaps it could do the same for someone else.

Definitely worth sharing.

The first of my 365 Grateful project....

Friends who get me. They are rare and special.